Shh!  Here’s a little secret about Ditch the Pitch…

The Ditch the Pitch Habits work great for selling and persuading, but they also work very well for brainstorming ideas.

Our team at Yastrow and Company, Amanda, Heather, Joanne, Helga and I, have been using the Ditch the Pitch Habits for our idea generation conversations, with great success. Over the last two weeks, Heather and I have been creating a brand strategy for a major non-profit client of ours, and using the Ditch the Pitch Habits has made us very productive.

Why would the Ditch the Pitch Habits, which are designed for sales and persuasion, work so well for brainstorming ideas?

Because ditching the pitch is about creating dynamic, effective conversations that lead people to co-create solutions and ideas, which is important whether you are finding solutions for your customers or finding solutions with your brainstorming partners.

Here are ways to apply the Ditch the Pitch Habits to brainstorming, comparing these applications to how Ditch the Pitch works with customers:

Habit #1: Think Input Before Output

For persuading customers: In customer conversations, let everything you say or do be informed by what you hear and observe.

For brainstorming: Listen first! At all times, be open to the ideas and comments of your brainstorming partners. Honor what they say, and respond to what they say. If all of you do this, everyone’s ideas will have a chance to come into the conversation, at the right time.

Habit #2: Size Up the Scene

For persuading customers: As you listen and observe, take stock of your customer’s character and seek to understand their situation and perspective.

For brainstorming: Always seek to understand what your brainstorming partners are really saying, and why they are saying it. Don’t assume you know what they mean the first moment you hear them say something. Instead, be curious to learn what they are thinking and the deeper meaning behind their comments.

Habit #3: Create a Series of “Yeses”

For persuading customers: A conversation only moves forward if both parties continually agree to let it move forward. At its core, a conversation is a series of “yeses.”

For brainstorming: Productive brainstorming requires a “Yes, and…” attitude and constant affirmation of ideas. Don’t shoot down others’ ideas when you hear them. Instead, look for ways to affirm and build upon what they say.  Remember that every idea is a bridge to the best idea, so the best way to proceed is to build a flowing and vibrant conversation that is filled with “yeses.”

Habit #4: Explore and Heighten

For persuading customers: As you engage your customer, look forward to take your conversation to a higher level. Explore to find what your customer really cares about and then heighten by discussing why these things are important.

For brainstorming: As your brainstorming group finds interesting ideas, explore them. As you do this, heighten the conversation by discussing these interesting ideas and learning new things about them as you talk.

Habit #5: Focus the Conversation on the Customer

For persuading customers: Resist the temptation to talk too much about your company or your products. Instead, have a conversation that is mostly about your customer.

For brainstorming: Spend much more time discussing other people’s ideas than you spend pushing your own. Bring your own ideas into the conversation by connecting your ideas to the ideas and observations of the others you are brainstorming with.  If everyone does this, the best ideas will be able to shine through.

Habit #6: Don’t Rush the Story

For persuading customers: Your customer won’t be ready to hear your ideas as fast as you come up with them. Let the story emerge through your conversation, at a pace your customer can accept.

For brainstorming: Patience is critical for brainstorming. If everyone in the conversation is willing to explore ideas without forcing solutions before they are ready to emerge, the right outcomes will have a much better chance of becoming evident.

And here’s even better news: Practicing the Ditch the Pitch Habits while brainstorming will help you learn to use these valuable habits when persuading your customers. Enjoy brainstorming with the Ditch the Pitch Habits!

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